Some notes are difficult to blow after tuning

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  • #3039
    AvatarKirill
    Participant

    After tuning my Hohner Student 32 melodica from 443Hz to 440Hz myself (according to one of the manuals over the Internet), I experience some difficulties to blow lower and higher notes: it seems to require more pressure (than in the middle) to make reeds sound. I took the melodica to a local accordion specialist and he said that reeds need some “intonating” (I’m not sure about this term in English, but as far as I understood, it’s about correcting a reeds’ shape). The problem is that he quoted a price twice of melodica price 🙂
    Does somebody knows how to solve this problem on my own?

    #3052
    Avatarprodz
    Participant

    During tuning you probably pres one of the reeds to much down or you lift reed to much up. Maby the problem is in the gap between reed and reed plate. Try to adjust problematic reed by little bit and see what happens.

    But why tuning that small amount of out of tune. I noticed that is better for notes go little bit higher (like your 443Hz). Because when you blow harder note (tuning) tend to go little bit lower.

    P.S. sorry for bad english 🙂

    #3054
    AvatarKirill
    Participant

    Prodz, hvala za odgovor 🙂 I will try your suggestions.

    I’ve found 443Hz to be really out of tune when played along with my band (I’m actually a mandolin player, but one song required an accordion-like sound) and now, after tuning to what I consider “440Hz”, it sounds acceptable.

    #3056
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I haven’t tuned Hohners, Kirill, but have a lot of experience with Yamahas and Suzukis. prodz might have a point that tuning a bit higher might relieve the problem, maybe at 441, which probably would work with bandmates. I was surprised to hear about your experience, though, and my first thought (with hesitation given what the accordion tuner said) was that the problem might be gapping. You can see whether the gaps are noticeably different, and gapping does affect how much of a sound (if any) you get.

    The Hohner Student is an inexpensive and cheaply made instrument. I bought one for $25 new and have taken it apart. Its reeds may be of insufficient quality to withstand being all tuned down from 443 to 440. I have tuned several better melodicas, Yamahas and higher end Suzukis (A-34 NS m-32), down to 440 or 441 and have noticed no problem such as you describe. Those melodicas are claimed to have higher quality reeds, and I think you can see that they do, and they don’t corrode so easily.

    I don’t think it is unusual, though, for the notes at the low and high ends to be a bit harder to blow (to get the sound you want) than the notes in the middle. I think there is a “sweet range” of a melodica, where it is easiest to play and sounds best, though this varies from one melodica to another and is more noticeable on some melodicas and to some players than to others.

    #3063
    AvatarKirill
    Participant

    Alan, thank you for the answer.
    I opened the melodica and haven’t any correlation between gaps and ease of blowing. So I took some pictures:
    http://grushetsky.ru/temp/DSC01241.JPG (from the lower notes side)
    http://grushetsky.ru/temp/DSC01242.JPG (lower notes side)
    http://grushetsky.ru/temp/DSC01247.JPG (middle)
    http://grushetsky.ru/temp/DSC01248.JPG (higher notes)
    Should I try to lessen any gaps? I’m pretty sure that it was easier to blow most of the notes (except a few of the highest and maybe the lowest) before my intrusion.

    And yes, I understand that Hohner Student is a low-end instrument for $25, but why not to try to improve it…

    #3064
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    The gaps look wide, but uniformly so. Really hard to tell. I didn’t mean to demean inexpensive melodicas or to suggest that they are not worth tuning. Someone else might have more insight about this. If I have time for it, I’ll try tuning my inexpensive Hohner.

    #3065
    Avatarprodz
    Participant

    just press problematic reeds to leesen the gap and look what happened. Do not be afraid, it will not break. just dont press too much down…

    #3067
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I use a flexible plastic toothpick to gently push the reed past the reed plate a few times. That gradually closes the gap.

    #3068
    AvatarKirill
    Participant

    Alan, prodz, I’ll try your advice and report back the result!

    #3069
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Try a few gentle strokes from the base of the reed to make sure you’re not putting too much stress on any one part. Generally, if you have to blow excessively to make a reed speak, it means there’s too much gap. And it does look that way from the photos.

    #3115
    AvatarKirill
    Participant

    Alan, prodz, Troy, thank you so much!
    After lowering the reeds my melodica plays and sound better than when it was new 🙂
    I think that wide gaps were the result of snapping the reeds after filing, as was recommended in a guide I followed.

    #3116
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Great news, Kirill. A flexible plastic toothpick (again) is what I use for pinging, “The Doctor’s Brushpicks,” which also are pretty good for cleaning between your teeth.

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